Ralph Balson began his artistic career at the age of 30 after attending painting classes at art school in Sydney. It was there that he met friends, and fellow artists Grace Crowley and Frank Hinder. Crowley had spent some time studying and painting in France and had brought back with her an understanding and enthusiasm for cubist and abstract painting, and Hinder had experienced the New York art scene. These meetings ignited Balson's imagination.
Sydney in the 1930s was the leading city in Australia for abstract, cubist and constructivist art. Realist painting was seen by abstract artists as stale and they felt that they needed to 'abandon the representation of objects in order to establish a new realm of visual existence'. (B & T. Smith, Australian Painting 1788 - 1990, Melbourne, 1995, p.214).
By 1939 Balson, along with other artists, held a cubist exhibition entitled Exhibition I. The exhibition was successful in bringing the work of Balson and his circle greater prominence and understanding. So much so that in 1941 Balson held his second solo exhibition, which Daniel Thomas acclaimed was "the first non-figurative one-man show in Australia."
"During the first years of the constructive series Balson emphasised bold, angular rhythms in his compositions. His colour sense too was energetic. In the other works of 1941 and those that immediately followed, such as Construction in Green, of 1942, he animated large flat shapes in soft pastels with geometric focal points of pure colour. In other early Constructive Paintings, he experimented with areas of gold, silver and copper lusters. Industrial metallic paints depersonalised the surface of these geometric compositions, but paradoxically, Balson's abstract works retained a directly painted, hand-crafted look." (B. Adams, Ralph Balson, A Retrospective, Bulleen, 1989, p. 24)